A battle between book writers and bookkeepers
You wonder how these ideas start. Because they have to start somewhere, in this case in the vicinity of the Arts Council, where the notion was formed that artists receiving the €17,000 a year stipend (the "cnuas") as members of Aosdana, may be required to furnish proof that they are "working artists engaged in productive practice."
How did they imagine this would work?
Say there's this 80-year-old poet who has been "silent" for some time - in the mind's eye he receives a visit from the Poetry Inspector, who voices his "concern" about the situation, to which the poet can only respond that the value of his genius is by its nature unquantifiable in these bureaucratic terms, his work being an exploration of the human condition and not something that can be measured by the yard, as it were.